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All Songs Considered

Algiers new album The Underside Of Power is one of 2017's most ambitious and intense records. I love it — but sometimes I have to just have to hit pause. There's a fierceness both in subject and sound and source, including speeches from Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers, bold and dark lyrical imagery of death and rage, sounds of people weeping, drones, chimes and what at times feels like the entire history of rock, gospel and R&B wrapped into fifty-one minutes. There's a lot to unpack here.

Lo Tom's debut is a serious rock 'n' roll record that doesn't take itself too seriously. "Nobody is in charge," the band claims. "The album is pink..." and features a chihuahua with sunglasses.

We wrapped a bottle in a tote bag and set up blankets and chairs on Bethany Beach in Delaware. The identical candy stores across the street, the foot-long hot dog shop offering exotic flavors like "Seattle-style" (with cream cheese) and "banh mi," and a bar on the boardwalk with a happy hour from early afternoon to early evening — this is not a fancy beach, but you can map glamour onto it, if you want to. (At least it's not Ocean City during spring break.) Following a round of frozen daiquiris slurped from plastic sandwich bags (we're classy), out came the rosé in red cups.

Back in 2001, not long after All Songs Considered started, Bob Boilen and I made what was one of the show's first-ever musical discoveries, a then-new band called The Be Good Tanyas. The trio of young women from Vancouver made incredibly infectious folk with the sweetest harmonies and a swoon-inducing surplus of innocent charm.

We follow Father's Day weekend with a mix of powerful new pop and rock from a lot of incredible women, including "Exhumed," a raging, cathartic song from Zola Jesus, and roaring doom metal from Chelsea Wolfe.

Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle has always been more comfortable with machines than people. It's a dynamic he's well-documented, and even romanticized, in his work, with tales of misfit characters and their troubled relationships with everything from robots to appliances. Perhaps it's because mechanical friendships don't require much of an emotional investment — they're not built on a lot of open and earnest discussions.

It took a few songs for them to lock in. "We'd like to dedicate this entire set to the memory of John Spalding," guitarist and primary vocalist Doug Lorig said, referencing a Seattle guitarist who died of cancer in 2008 and played in punk bands like Ninety Pound Wuss and the wildly destructive Raft Of Dead Monkeys, all of whom shared members (at one point or another) with Roadside Monument.

On the heels of his historic induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (and amid unconfirmed rumors of new arrivals to his family), Jay Z has announced his thirteenth solo studio album, 4:44, to be released on June 30.

After releasing two new songs, playing them on Saturday Night Live, and not being totally stoked on a set of vinyl reissues, LCD Soundsystem has annou

You're in a New York apartment, alone on a warm night, hearing the sounds of the city drift up from the streets. Or you're in Paris and part of the noise, moving through the crowded streets and sidewalks, both feeling the weight of the world and a being a part of that weight. Or maybe you've never even seen a large city, and mistake the glowing lights from afar for a mysterious fire.

For more than half a decade Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been an inseparable creative duo, racking up record sales and Grammy awards. But the premiere of "Glorious" — the first single from Macklemore's new, unnamed album — comes today with news that the Seattle rapper's next release will be a solo effort.

Around the NPR Music office we all swear like a twee version of Veep — but on-air and on-website we receive a tiny electric shock every time we try to spell out our favorite dirty words. (That's not true, but it's funny to think about.)

We're not quite to the halfway point of 2017 and we've already discovered dozens of new artists who've gone on to become a permanent part of our musical lives, from Diet Cig and Charly Bliss to Overcoats, Vagabon, This Is The Kit and many more. We'll define a "new" artist as someone who released their debut full-length in 2017. (If they haven't released a full album, an EP or single can count).

We get right down to business this week with the fantastic, frenetic pop of Guerilla Toss. The New York band has a new album on the way and recently released "Betty Dreams Of Green Men," a cut inspired by alien abduction, addiction and the obsessions that can consume a person's life.

The Southern dialect is a complex thing, especially when pouring out the mouths of three of the regions best rappers ever. From the marble-mouthed flow of trapper du jour Gucci Mane, to the elongated vowel sounds of the dearly departed Pimp C, to the sticky, multi-syllabic delivery of OutKast's most consistent player Big Boi, it comes in all drawls and colors.

SZA's CTRL is here, a resolutely confident and skillful R&B album that explores the notions of control and honesty, with thoughtful features from Travis Scott ("Love Galore"), Kendrick Lamar ("Doves In The Wind") and Isaiah Rashad ("Pretty Little Birds"). And it almost didn't happen.

There's a stunning project by a handful of music's current big-thinkers: composer Nico Muhly, songwriter and singer Sufjan Stevens and guitarist-composer Bryce Dessner of The National. The trio, along with percussionist James McAlister, have created Planetarium, an existential song cycle that confronts both the heavens and the human condition in a marriage of hypnotic sound and song.

If you've ever listened to The Marked Men or Radioactivity, Jeff Burke is a songwriter who knows his way around a power-pop-punched punk hook. The same goes for Japanese musician Yusuke Okada, who makes rollicking garage-rock with Suspicious Beasts. The cross-continental duo make hazy, flowery '60s psych with a bit of '80s jangle as Lost Balloons, their second album Hey Summer arriving just in time for long bike rides, long sips of sweet tea and staring at clouds.

Guest DJ: alt-J

Jun 6, 2017

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